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When manners maketh man

With rudeness apparently on the increase in the UK and beyond, Paul Russell, director and co-founder of soft skills training company Luxury Academy offers up his views on the value of manners in both a business and communications context

Rudeness is becoming the norm around the world. A 2016 survey from Statistica found that 74% of respondents said they believed people are more rude than they were 20 years ago. You see it everywhere. My entreaty would be to not forget how powerful manners can be – both personally and for business. Don’t imagine that the use of manners somehow makes you less powerful, they make you a stronger, better person.

Using please and thank you as add ons

This is perhaps the simplest of all the small gestures of politeness, yet it is the one that is most often neglected. Whether people decide to withhold this social nicety because they think the other person doesn’t deserve their politeness or are just completely unaware of the right form, not using please and thank you is the height or rudeness. It’s not a ‘nice to have’ or an optional add on, but an essential in every conversation.

Being a ‘slammer’

It takes around five seconds to open the door for someone, maybe 10 seconds if a few other people sneak through the door too, yet most people imagine they are far too busy and important. And so, instead of holding the door, they allow it to slam behind them with little regard for who may be following. Still, they did shave 10 seconds off their journey.

Not passing the waiter test

Really rude people seem to think that certain professions are beneath them, like waiting or retail staff. It’s like they have an internal ratings system that tells them whether the person they’re dealing with is worthy of their attention and courtesy, with the arrow most often pointing to no. Being abrupt or dismissive to a waiter doesn’t (as they think) show power. It’s actually rudeness, plain and simple.

A lack of grace

Being well mannered is about actions but it’s also about response. Rude people are so unused to being polite themselves that when they experience it from others, they don’t know how to react. For example, it used to be commonplace for a younger person to give up theirseat to someone older than them which would be accepted with good grace. But nowadays this is more likely to be met with anger like ‘are you saying I’m old?’. No, they are just being polite.

Not understanding the power of a smile

We can often forget the power of manners and politeness, and whatthey can mean to someone else. A kind gesture like a smile, a greeting or a pat on the arm takes seconds, yet can mean an incredible amount. The poem A smile costs nothing but gives much says it all: ‘A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business and is the countersign of friendship. It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad.’

Paul Russell is co-founder and director of Luxury Academy London, a multi-national private training company with offices in London, Delhi
and Visakhapatnam, which specialises inleadership, communication and business etiquette training.


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